Oh I wish I could write 'The Final' here...
Trip Start Jan 18, 2011
28Trip End Nov 05, 2011
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We had originally looked into getting tickets for the Bronze Final once we realized that Wales would be there, and if they had been relatively cheap then we probably would have gone. But at a 100 quid a pop, it wasn't going to a be a cheap option and so we decided that we’d watch it in a pub somewhere up north. We started off in Whangarei, the northern most city in New Zealand. From there we travelled north to Kerikeri and stayed a night in a nice campsite which felt like we were in the middle of a forest, pretty cool! Kerikeri is a lovely little place, full of crafty arty shops, gift shops, cafes…my kind of place basically. But we decided to go on to Paihia, the main town in the Bay of Islands, a Bay in the east of the northern peninsula. The weather got miles better as soon as we got there, like proper summer
Paihia is a really nice little town on the beach, overlooking the Bay of Island which is a bay…full of islands. Just up the road is Waitangi, the historic home of New Zealand, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 uniting the Maori and European settlers and declaring the independence of New Zealand as a country. It guarantees the land to the Maori tribes and the Treaty House has been restored there, along with a Marae (Maori meeting house) that has been built there for special events. It’s a pretty cool place, and a nice place to walk around in the sun. There’s a also a boat house, housing two replica massive Maori sailing boats built in the 1930-1940s for the centenary of the signing. After a bit of a history lesson, we decided that since the weather was so nice, we would take the little ferry over to Russell, on the other side of the Bay. Russell is also historic in that it was the main place in New Zealand which was completely lawless (around the time the Treaty was signed) and was a bit of a haven for smugglers, pirates…general no good people. But today, it’s a cute little place on the beach and home to nice cafes, shops so we decided that, since it was Pat’s birthday, we would celebrate in style and eat at The Gables, a really nice restaurant right on the water’s edge. Then we found out it was New Zealand’s first brothel
Back we went to Paihia and to see the match in a bar on the waterfront. We hadn’t really been thinking about the match much, it’s pretty difficult to get excited for a third place match, even though it was against Australia and a match of that caliber would be massive at home. But hey, we settled in the marquee, stood for the anthem and sang our hearts out and watched…and it was like watching a different team. The mistakes, the lack of depth (yep I got that from Sion…) and just the disarray
The day after we were both a bit depressed, but there was a food and drink festival going on in town so after changing campsite to one with actual light, we decided to venture back to town to try and get a lamb burger, or a venison hotdog, a free taster of New Zealand vodka…you know, the type of stuff we get in the Cardiff Bay food festival! But noooo, when we arrived we realized that it $45 per person to get in! Say what?! Reason being there was a band playing that were apparently pretty big, not that we’d ever heard of them…and to be honest, $90 was going to pushing it for both of us to get in to see a band we’d never heard of so we decided to go elsewhere for food. And ended up in Kebabulous. No joke, although kebabs here are a bit different to what we get at home – an altogether posher affair, more of a wrap…or so I kept telling myself as we were waiting for them to make our kebabulous kebabs. We spent the rest of the day sunbathing, chilling out near the beach…altogether having a kebabulous time :)
So after a few nice relaxing days in the sun, the last bit of sun we’ll get before going home to the cold November Welsh weather and the last chance to get a tan before next 'summer’ at home, we came back to Auckland. A couple of nights were booked in with Maia to empty and tidy up the van and return it to Spaceships Central. I may have moaned a bit about hitting my head when waking up, not having enough room to stretch and almost boiling to death in that van, but really it has served us well over the last 2 months
Anyway, our next stop is our last one. We have three nights in Hong Kong, 2 full days to sightsee, soak in the atmosphere, find the cheapest places to eat (Sion is after some cockroaches or locusts) and generally enjoy our last few days of travelling. We fly Thursday morning, via Sydney to Hong Kong, where we’ll stay in a disgustingly priced hostel (HK is one expensive place!) but which we hope isn’t disgusting in itself, and then we arrive home on Sunday.
We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone, eating everything and just being home…the last few months has been amazing, but we are just about ready to come home now.
But it’s not over yet – last stop, Hong Kong! And thank goodness, because I could really do with a Chinese takeaway right about now...
Enfys & Sion x